Daily Archives: July 9, 2010

Presidential Boasting And Bashing

The selective modesty of Barack Obama.  WP.  From the apology tour to self-aggrandizement.  Plenty of bashing nuggets in the WP post.  Then there is the boasting. 

Charles Krauthammer.  The man’s training as a psychiatrist continues to provide endless precise analysis of whomever and whatever he has on hand to dissect.   His observations and assessment are astute. 

It’s fine to recognize the achievements of others and be non-chauvinistic about one’s country. But Obama’s modesty is curiously selective. When it comes to himself, modesty is in short supply.

It began with the almost comical self-inflation of his presidential campaign, from the still inexplicable mass rally in Berlin in front of a Prussian victory column to the Greek columns framing him at the Democratic convention. And it carried into his presidency, from his posture of philosopher-king adjudicating between America’s sins and the world’s to his speeches marked by a spectacularly promiscuous use of the word “I.”

Notice, too, how Obama habitually refers to Cabinet members and other high government officials as “my” — “my secretary of homeland security,” “my national security team,” “my ambassador.” The more normal — and respectful — usage is to say “the,” as in “the secretary of state.” These are, after all, public officials sworn to serve the nation and the Constitution — not just the man who appointed them.

Fusing more recent events together with the past, helps provide perspective.  This is not just a one time deal.  There is a little history going on here.

It’s a stylistic detail, but quite revealing of Obama’s exalted view of himself. Not surprising, perhaps, in a man whose major achievement before acceding to the presidency was writing two biographies — both about himself. 

And of course, Krauthhammer saves the most succinct statement for last.

What is odd is to have a president so convinced of his own magnificence — yet not of his own country’s.

Narcissism comes to mind.